The Forum of the Traditional power was established as an space to share and discuss in order to contribute to bring the traditional kings voice to the political and social arena in Guinea Bissau.
In Guinea Bissau the weakness of the judicial system enhances the relevance of the endogenous mechanisms of conflict management. The traditional kings deal day by day with conflict and particularly conflict related to land tenure.These so called 'kings' are traditional autorities. They hold the historical records on property and owner rights, and they exercise a power that has the legitimacy to manage recurrent conflicts like those related to family or cattle theft, and try to ensure truth telling, reparation and reconciliation. They apply conflict resolution methods focused on the restoration of relationships.
The Forum of Traditional Power is a platform of exchange and lobbying that aims to promote the formal articulation and recognition of the added value of the traditional kings. In August 2011, the first integral meeting of the Forum of Traditional power was held in Bissau with the participation of more than one hundred traditional kings under the presidency of President Bacai Sanha. The recognition of traditional power as an independent civil society stakeholder is important to the understanding of the role of the traditional kings in Guinea Bissau independently of political considerations, as is the discussion regarding how to ensure the kings accountability, follow up and connection with state authorities.
The kings collaborate daily with the police and sometimes are even requested to provide advice in courts. This however still depends on particular local dynamics.